The rest of the week went by quickly for all of us. Friday afternoon my secretary told me I had a call and that Sally Swarthout was on line one. I immediately answered it.
“Hi, Sally. I hope you’re not about to tell me you can’t come for either Sunday or Monday’s celebrations,” I began.
“No, Josh, I will be there both days, but that’s not why I called,” she announced, getting to the point quickly. “I have another problem that I hope you can help me with.”
Although I thought I knew what she was about to spring on me, I was in too good of a mood to refuse her anything. “I’ll see what I can do,” I agreed. “What’s your problem?”
“Josh, I have a pair of brothers who need a home. I was hoping they could be the two newest guests at the Castaway Hotel,” she urged. “The police found them in their apartment this afternoon, after the school alerted the authorities that the boys had missed several days of school and couldn’t be reached by other means. The police went to the home and discovered the boys had been abandoned and hadn’t eaten for a few days. They’re in my reception area right now, and I was hoping you might be able to take them in, as soon as your school day ended. The youngest is eleven and a half and the older one will be thirteen, in a little over a month.”
I thought for a minute and then answered. “Sure, Sally. When would you like to do this?”
“As soon as it’s convenient for you,” she told me.
“I’ve got some running around to do this afternoon, such as picking the boys up and all, so it would probably be best if you dropped them off at my office, say between 2:30 and 3:00. That way I can introduce them to the boys a few at a time, and they can even watch them play soccer for a while too.”
“That sounds fine, Josh,” she concurred. “Thank you, again, and I’ll see you then.”
I’m not sure we were quite ready to add more to our brood, but as the boys had said before, ‘if someone needs our help, then we’ll help them.’ So that was precisely what we were going to do.
Sally arrived with the new boys around 2:45 and my heart ached the minute I saw them. You could tell at first glance they had not been eating well for longer than just a few days. They were adorable, but so thin and frail that it made them appear a bit pathetic. They were not much more than a collection of skin and bones.
“Mr. Currie this is Cole (indicating the older one) and this is Graham Van Cott.”
“Nice to meet you Cole and Graham,” I said, while reaching out to shake their hands. Hesitantly, they offered them to me and I was careful not to crush their bony fingers. “We’ll be leaving here shortly to pick up my other sons, I informed them, hoping that might help to break the ice. “You’ll meet them then and I think you’ll get along well.” They didn’t respond and merely looked at me.
“Boys, make yourself at home in my office,” I suggested, “while I walk Mrs. Swarthout to her car.” They each nodded and then sat in one of the chairs in my office.
As I walked Sally out, she told me their story. “It seems the boys’ father abandoned them when Cole was three or four and they haven’t seen or heard from him since,” she began. “Their mother’s boyfriend has been living with them for the past several months, but he and the boys’ mother left them alone for a while, while they went out drinking the past Tuesday night. The thing was, they never returned. The boys stayed in the apartment by themselves, and ate whatever crumbs they could find, but the place was totally devoid of food.
“When I went to get them, it was apparent their mother and her boyfriend had been spending whatever money they had on themselves and on having a good time, and weren’t providing for the boys. I gave the boys a sandwich when they first came in, but their stomachs were having some trouble coping with something that heavy. I know this will not be easy for you to cope with, seeing they are in such poor condition, but I can’t think of any place better for them right now. Even though they’re a bit younger and a little easier to find a home for, I think they’ll thrive best at your place. Thanks again, Josh. You don’t know how much this means to me.”
“I think I do, Sally, and we’ll be fine,” I assured her. “I’m sure the other boys will be more than willing to help these two fit in and we’ll try to include them on our weekend festivities.” After thanking her for all the information she had provided me, I transferred their meager belongings to the van and went back to check on my two newest boarders. After speaking with them briefly, I led them out to the van, strapped them into the front seat together and went to pick up my soccer team.
The four boys had puzzled expressions on their faces, when they noticed the two newcomers in the front seat. However, they merely climbed into the back of the van. “Hi, Dad,” Kevin greeted me. “Who are your new friends?”
“Not new friends, boys, they’re your new brothers. The older one is Cole and the younger one is Graham. We’ll do the formal introductions when we get to the house.” The boys all said a quick hello and welcomed them to our family, before we headed to our home.
Once we got there, I had to unbuckle my new sons, since they either didn’t know how to do it themselves or didn’t have the strength to manage on their own. Once we were out of the van, I guided them into the house and to the living room, so we could all sit down and get acquainted. Cole sat next to me, so I quickly reached out and pulled Graham onto my lap. They both collapsed against me and seemed to melt into my body. I took my time and introduced them to each of their new brothers, but I could tell from their demeanor that they probably wouldn’t remember anyone’s name. Cole and Graham were apparently very weak and not totally with it.
“How about a snack to tide you over, while I fix dinner?” I suggested. The other boys jumped at the idea, while Cole and Graham sat silently beside me. After gently placing Graham on the sofa, beside his brother, I went out and cut some apples into wedges and placed them on a tray with some grapes and a jar of peanut butter, which they could dip their apples into, if they so desired. The other boys liked to do that and I hoped Cole and Graham might to, as the protein in the peanut butter would be good for them.
After leaving the snack tray behind for them to enjoy, I went out and began getting diner ready for everyone. However, I also prepared some soup and grilled cheese sandwiches for Cole and Graham. After hearing what Sally had to say, I figured their stomachs might not be able to handle the regular meal I was fixing for the rest of us and felt the soup would be best, but the grilled cheese was also there, if they needed something a little more substantial. I explained the reason for the separate meals to all of the boys, since I didn’t want any of them thinking Cole and Graham weren’t allowed to partake of what the rest of us were sharing.
As they began to eat, I found myself having to help them at times. They sometimes seemed like children half their age. After dinner, I took them to the television room and we all sat down to watch a program on the tube. I pulled both boys onto my lap, trying to make them feel welcomed and comfortable, and held them against me for about an hour. Looking around the room, I could tell the other boys were visibly shaken by the younger ones’ physical condition, as they continually glanced over at them, to see how they were doing. After a while, the older boys decided to ask their new brothers to choose what we were going to watch next. It was then that I saw Cole and Graham surrender their first smiles, as they made their selection.
After we watched a couple of different shows, I took Cole and Graham up to the bathroom to clean them up. As I began to remove their clothing, it was obvious they hadn’t been cleaned up properly for quite some time either. It appeared they had settled for just sponging off their faces and arms, but I had no idea how long that had been going on. I was debating between giving them a bath or shower, but either way, I didn’t feel they were strong enough to cleanse themselves adequately. Eventually I decided to give them a bath, because I was afraid one might slip and fall, while I was washing the other. In order to get things going, I sat Cole on the toilet seat and Graham on the edge of the tub as I filled it, but I held on to him tightly while I drew the water. When the water level was sufficient, I placed Graham and then Cole into the warm water. As I began to soap them up, I suddenly realized I had forgotten something important, so I called down and asked Ricky to come up and join us.
“What do you want, Dad?” he asked, as he walked through the bathroom door.
“Ricky, seeing you’re the smallest, I need you to get me two pair of your underpants and two tee-shirts, once each for Cole and Graham. We’ll have to run their clothes through the washer tomorrow. It’s too late to do that now.”
Ricky did as I asked, without complaint, and quickly retrieved the garments, while I bathed the boys. He brought them in and set the items on the edge of the sink, while I finished up. Needless to say, the water was disgusting looking when I finished, but it helped me to discover the boys were more handsome than I had first thought. Now that we had removed most of the dirt, I could begin to see they were both quite adorable, even in this emaciated state. If it weren’t for their skeletal build, I would have thought they were as cute as two frisky puppies, freshly cleaned and adorned with a red bow. However, they weren’t completely clean yet, so I drained the tub, rinsed it out and refilled it with fresh water, to finish the job.
Once I felt they were as clean as I was going to be able to get them, I took another good look at them and will describe them for you. Cole is about 5’ tall, while Graham is closer to 4’ 9”, and it would be possible to count every rib on each of their frail bodies, if I were so inclined. Cole’s hair had most likely been very blond when he was younger, but it was darkening, now, as he got older. His hair was cut short and parted on the left, while Graham had dark brown hair, quite thick and bushy, and it was parted on the right. Both boys had brown eyes – a deep piercing kind of brown. However, my biggest surprised came when I got to inspect their boyhood.
Cole had a very well formed 4.5” cut penis with a nice ring of blondish pubic hairs at its base, although there were a couple of bald patches mixed in. Graham’s organ, on the other hand, was about 3.5” long, uncut, but he also had a couple of dark pubes resting above his prick. What surprised me the most was not that he was reaching puberty, but that one of the brothers was circumcised and the other was not! It would be a few more weeks before I learned the reason for this. Cole told me later that his father had been in the military when they were both born. Cole had been delivered at the army hospital at Ft. Dix, New Jersey, but Graham had been born while they lived in Germany. Graham happened to arrive three weeks early, while their dad was on leave and the family was out sightseeing. When his mother went into labor, she developed problems and they weren’t able to get back to the base in time. That’s why Graham was born in a German hospital. Seeing circumcision is not as routine a procedure there, as it is in the States, Graham went uncircumcised and his parents opted not to have it done later. Thus, one was and one wasn’t cut.
After their bath, I dressed both of the boys as best I could. Ricky’s underwear fit Cole fairly well, but it was very loose on Graham’s small frame, so he ended up having to hold his briefs in place. I then took both boys into my room and placed them on my bed. They would sleep in with me tonight, since there was a temporary shortage of empty beds left to accommodate them. I’ll make sure to go out and pick up more tomorrow. In the mean time, my king-size bed would be more than adequate to accommodate us all. Besides, that way I would also be able to monitor them, in case they have any adverse reaction to being in a strange place tonight. In fact, I may just have them stay with me for a while longer, until they more fully recover. I’ll make sure they have their own rooms and beds, once they’re stronger.
After tucking them in, I left for a while, to go down and spend some time with the others. I felt this would give us some private time, where we could discuss our latest arrivals. I was certain the boys had plenty of questions they were dying to ask and they did. After answering their queries as best I could, they seemed shocked that adults could have been so heartless, but were better prepared to accept Cole and Graham’s circumstances. I thanked them for their understanding and praised them about how they had been with the boys earlier, before I left them again, to go back and spend time with our newest additions.
I stripped down to my underwear and snuggled in with my two little waifs. I chose to lie between them, so I could hold them both as close to me as I could tonight. I wanted each of them to understand they were now in a place where they were loved, wanted and would be cared for.
Saturday morning, I asked Cole and Graham what kind of cereal they wanted for breakfast. They looked at each other and then shrugged their shoulders at me. “Come on, what’s your favorite kind. If we don’t already have it here, I’ll go out and get some for you,” I urged, hoping this would get me an answer.
“But we don’t know,” Cole answered, looking a little scared and confused.
“You don’t know what?” I asked in return, somewhat befuddled by his reply.
“We don’t know what kind of cereal we like, because… because we’ve never had cereal before,” he now admitted, while looking a little sheepish about divulging this fact.
“You’ve never had any cereal at all?” I pressed, thinking maybe he had misunderstood my question.
“Not that I remember,” he responded.
“Then what did you eat for breakfast?”
“If we had anything at all, it was usually just some toast with butter on it,” Cole informed me.
“And that’s all you ever ate in the morning?” I countered.
“Well, one time we did have some cold spaghetti I found in the fridge and another time we shared a piece of pizza that was still in the box on the table when we got up,” he added.
The other boys overheard our conversation and I could read the reactions on their faces. I judged their response to be a mixture of sadness, shock and even anger, after learning how deprived these two had been. Without any coaxing from me, they began pulling out all of the different cereal boxes from our pantry and tried to explain what each tasted like, which isn’t an easy task. When they found they weren’t being successful, they pulled out two bowls, filled them with milk and then dumped in a small sample of one of the cereals, so the two boys could try it for themselves.
One by one, the boys patiently went through the various types, so by the time Cole and Graham finished tasting a cross sampling of the various boxes, they were already full. However, the process was not without its benefits. Along the way, the two boys had discovered a couple of different cereals they were particularly fond of and had even asked for a second small helping of each. Next time, they would be prepared to make their choice, without hesitation.
As the other boys began to eat as well, they began pouring themselves glasses of orange juice to go along with their meal. That was when we also discovered Cole and Graham had never tasted orange juice either. As I was pouring each of them a small glass, I wondered what the other boys thought about this news, on top of everything else they had heard. I know I was beginning to feel that I’d like to go out and locate their mother, so I could wring her selfish neck.